Argentina vs. Nigeria World Cup:Vincent Enyeama Earns His Keep in Opener

Ieuan BeynonCorrespondent IIIJune 12, 2010

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 12: Vincent Enyeama of Nigeria gestures during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group B match between Argentina and Nigeria at Ellis Park Stadium on June 12, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
David Cannon/Getty Images

This afternoon in the Group B clash between Argentina and Nigeria, Vincent Enyeama, the Nigerian goalkeeper possibly had the game of his life, keeping the score to a respectable 1-0.

If it weren't for him, then the defeat could, and should have been a lot heavier.

In what seemed like a personal dual between Enyeama and Lionel Messi, the 'keeper time and time again was able to deny the world's greatest player.

Pulling of save after save,the Hapoel Tel Aviv shot-stopper denied Diego Maradona and his army of forwards the perfect start to the World Cup.

In what was a one sided affair, the Argentines at times looked very,very good going forward.

The front three of Gonzalo Higuain, Carlos Tevez and Messi, threatened at times to burst into flames and destroy all before them... they probably would have, if were not Enyeama.

But the rest of the Nigerian side looked very,very ordinary.

Without Chelsea's Jon Obi Mikel in the middle, the burden has been passed to 19-year-old Lukman Haruna, and the youngster seemed to be a little out of his depth in the opening match.

There is no doubt about his talent, but the expectation and the occasion may have played a part in this game.

The likes of Dickson Etuhu and Victor Obina were simply not good enough, against a very good Argentine attack.

If Nigeria have ability in abundance, then it is upfront.

The likes of Obi Martins, Yakubu and Chinedu Obasi have the potential to hurt teams, but none of them did today.

There were opportunities for them as well, because for all their attacking brilliance Argentina don't have much at the back.

Walter Samuel and Gabriel Hienze are both ageing, and the altitude affected them during the closing stages.

Jonas Gutierrez, is not a right-back, and there were times today when Nigeria had the chance to go at him and they didn't take them up.

So a summary of the match would be, Argentina are very good going forward,but they will struggle against better sides later in the tournament due to their defence.

Nigeria will struggle make it out of the group as South Korea looked in good form against Greece earlier in the day.

They need to regroup and regain the confidence which seen them finish third at this years African Cup of Nations.